Team Number: 055
School Name: Sandia Preparatory School
Area of Science: Biology
Project Title: I Like Pie
Team Members: Beryl Wootton, Gregory Fenchel, Alex Clement, Jayson Lynch

Problem Definition:

Although Smallpox is currently well contained, there is always the threat of an outbreak, either by accidental release, or release in a bio-terrorist attack. At the moment, the world is ill-equipped to deal with any sort of out-break at all. Vaccinations were stopped in the USA in 1980, when smallpox was eradicated from natural existence.

Proposed Solution:

If an outbreak were to occur, vaccinations and isolation would be the first two methods used. Since smallpox is not considered an eminent threat at the moment, vaccinations are scarce. A mathematical model would be the best way to show where quarantines and vaccinations would be used most effectively.

Current Progress:

We created an agent based simulation of the spread of smallpox throughout a city and the outlaying areas using real-world data about the disease. First, we collected real-world data on smallpox, and figured that there is an 80% transmission rate, and about a 2 to 3 week incubation period.
The first simple model we created had agents moving in random directions and periodically coming in contact with one another. Depending on the population density, we had a near 100% infection result. Roughly 20% of those infected died. We then used a similar process to divide the agents into communities. Agents had limited maneuverability from the main community, where the disease originated, and none between the four lesser communities. The main communities’ population was hit in about the same way as in the previous model, however, the populations of the lesser communities had a smaller number of agents infected or dead.

Expected Results:

Where the disease begins to spread will have a large impact on the results. If it starts in a dense community, with a constant flow of traffic in and out of the city, smallpox will be able to spread a lot more quickly. However, in a less dense, less centrally located city, the disease will have a harder time moving from person to person, as contact between people happens less often. So, containment in a small city is easier than a larger one. As our variables increase, we think they would show that those who interact with others more are more likely to contract and spread the disease.

Sources Consulted:

Legal Consumer Guide. Legal Consumer Guide. 12-8-04

Oldstone, Micheal. Viruses, Plagues, And History. Questia Media America. 12-8-04

Smallpox. Center For Disease Control. 12-7-04

Saffer, Barbara. Smallpox. Farmington Hills: Lucent Books, 2003.

Frampton, David. When Plague Strikes. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.